Unisource funds for solar systems

From the Unisource SunShare page:

… UES will pay the owner of a qualified solar electric generating system up to $3,000 per Manufacturer’s rated DC kW at Standard Test Conditions (“STC”) of qualifying, proven, installed solar generating capacity for all systems installed and operational within 180 days after UES accepts the owner’s application. …

I don’t intend to get on the grid unless someone else brings power down my street (and ruins the view) or I can buy the lot behind me (has power) – if I run into big money.

Last year I did a lot of research about the Unisource program and it was very limiting, didn’t allow wind generators.  You also had several options re. their buyback of the power you generate, it gets quite time consuming to just read it all.

From the FAQ

Can I have batteries? (Battery backup)?

UES does not provide a rebate if battery backup is present as part of the solar generation system. A stand-alone uninterruptible power supply (UPS) does not disqualify the system from a rebate.

If the power grid supply goes out (a UES power outage), will I still have power to run my air conditioner and refrigerator?

No, when the grid goes down, your inverter is programmed to shut the system down. This insures your system will not feed back into the grid system and cause injury to any UES employees working on power lines. …


Especially considering that the power here is so unreliable.  In summer you get continual brownouts, the lights dim, appliances slow down and often the power goes out for a few minutes and sometimes for a few hours.

And then there are the LONG power outages. In summer 2006, some neighbors were without power for several days after a lightening hit.  I don’t know about last summer, since I spent most of my time at my new place, but OFTEN the stove clock was blinking.  They’re too cheap to put the power lines underground, poles constantly get hit by lightening, and there just doesn’t seem to be enough power in summer.

So you’d have to have their solar system and have a separate wind gen / battery system, which I could do if I got the lot behind me.

If their program works for you, I just called and as of today they still have funds available, but they’re going fast.

I considered getting power for net metering, but …

It looked like I might get Unisource to subsidize a solar system for net metering and I made a serious effort to get Unisource to quote me the cost of bringing in power underground.

I had been calling since March for general info, was finally told that I needed to submit an application.  I submitted my plot plan and their application with a cover letter, explaining that I would NOT pay Unisource to ruin my view with power poles.  I wanted to bring the power in underground across the lot behind me or across 3 lots next to me.  I requested a call to discuss my options.

Yesterday I panicked when after 2 weeks without a word, I found Unisource stakes at the lot, indicating that they would run poles down the road, acroos the road, then up my lot and over to the garage.  It was the absolute WORST configuration.  Of course I could pay them to run the power underground on my lot, but there’s no way that I’ll bring power poles on the street and they won’t go underground on the street even if I paid for it.

Neighbors told me to ask for John Sampson, the guy in charge at Unisource for new power.  He did call me back today, a nice guy, but they just do things THEIR way only and they had decided not to use any of the utility easements.  The CC&Rs provide for a 10 foot setback on the sides of the lot for utilities.  The county zoning only requires 5 ft.  So, they’re effectively taking 3000 squarefeet of my property for an easement that NOBODY wants to use.  Same with the easement in the back.  I asked why they don’t notify county zoning that they don’t want the easement anymore, it would have saved me AND them a lot of time.  I didn’t get a meaningful answer.

And, he had no clue about my cover letter, which was apparently thrown away.  I really don’t appreciate that.  Why am I surprised?  That’s what I’ve been dealing with for 6 years.

Of course I cancelled my “order” (which really was a request for information) and Unisource can take a flying leap.

They have a pretty good program to subsidize solar systems, but were out of funds for the year and are currently looking into new programs for next year.  They also would not allow batteries (safety was quoted as the reason) and I would have had to get TWO systems to have a backup for when the power is off.

Which, BTW, is at least a couple times a week lately.  Sunday the power was out about 4 hours.  That’s of course becaused these morons won’t put the power underground so it won’t constantly get hit be by lightning.  Apparently it’s still cheaper to continually have repair crews at work than to bury the cables, as in the civilized world.

It looks like Bangladesh here ….  in one of the most beautiful areas on the planet.